The Florida Panthers have inked one of their top prospects, signing Serron Noel to a three-year entry-level contract. Noel is currently playing with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL after being selected 34th overall last June. Unlike some of the other prospects being signed right now, Noel is still young enough to potentially see the contract slide forward a year and not kick in until 2020-21.
That all depends on whether the Panthers believe he could help in the NHL next season, and after the strong year he’s had for Oshawa he’ll likely get a chance to battle for a spot in the fall. The 6’5″ winger has 75 points in 62 games and is already an excellent skater for his size. GM Dale Tallon expressed exactly that sentiment when speaking about his newest forward:
Serron is a highly skilled, hard-working, young player who we believe has the potential to be an excellent power forward for the Panthers for many years to come. At just 18 years of age, his impressive combination of size, speed and character are qualities that have helped him excel this season in Oshawa. We are thrilled to have signed Serron and look forward to his development with the Panthers.
If he doesn’t make the Panthers out of camp, which is still an extreme long shot at this point, Noel will not be allowed to play in the AHL and would be expected to return to the OHL for another season. That could very well come with an invitation to compete at the World Juniors with Team Canada, given he has already taken part in international tournaments like the Hlinka-Gretzky and the World Junior Summer Showcase.